THAILAND INCENTIVE & CONVENTION ASSOCIATION
Countless media accounts of Thailand’s political protests have inevitably affected local MICE businesses, but live visitor testimonials on social media from groups that have held events during the period helped paint a more realistic picture of the situation in Bangkok.
Thailand has faced another challenge from the last few months of 2013 and into the first quarter of 2014. The political standoff has affected the local business events climate, as decision makers and planners inevitably postponed or moved events elsewhere to minimise risks.
Although the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau dispatched frequent and regular updates on the situation, they were only effective up to a certain extent. On the flip side, planners who communicated with suppliers on the ground could rely on more real-time reports on the situation. Subsequently, several decided to continue with their planned events as long as they took place at hotel properties not inconvenienced by the protests. Group activities and excursions operated with no obstacles. Similarly, events which took place outside the capital went on as planned. Phuket, Chiang Mai, Samui, and other Thai destinations also reported on-trend growth in the two quarters.
The industry believed that mainstream media could have been of tremendous help in relating the true situation of the protests, complemented by the fact that foreign government travel advisories were categorised at a low level. And thanks to various social media channels, messages and video clips were able to express genuine feedback of the situation, along with visitor testimonials of those who had held meetings, organised events, conducted tours, and enjoyed the city.
Despite several crises faced, Thailand has proven time and again to be a resilient and preferred destination for business events and leisure tourism alike. Hence, planners should make it a point not to rely entirely on mainstream media, but seek alternative and more specifically, “live” reports from on-ground partners and suppliers, to prevent unnecessary disruptions to their events. m